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Before the Big Break

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Imagine the most powerful man in a country. He is the king. He has some major resources. His rule stretches far and wide. And he is evil — so evil that it was said he “did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him” (1 Kings 16:30).

The passage goes on to say:

And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel . . . and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. Then he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal . . . Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him (vv. 31-33).

Now imagine another man called by God to confront this powerful and wicked king: the prophet Elijah. Picture yourself in his place. You feel the unmistakable call of God to speak against blatant evil, but you know what that call might mean. Would you trust God?

Would I? It’s hard to say whether I would have had the faith to do what Elijah did. Elijah was called to not only confront Ahab but also curse the very land in the presence of Ahab, saying, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word” (17:1).

God’s prophet was in a difficult place then, but the God he worshipped did not leave Elijah to fend for himself. He led him to a place he could hide, near a brook called Cherith, and added, “You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there” (v. 4).

The rain had ceased throughout the land, but God had given Elijah a great place to wait until everything was normal again. He even had a few birds as his personal waiters for breakfast and dinner. Elijah might have thought, I’ll just wait it out until the rain comes or Ahab has a change of heart or he dies — whichever comes first.

But none of those things happened. Instead, the brook began to dry up. The water, once flowing and bubbling over stones and clefts, turned into a thin, shallow creek. Elijah must have watched the receding waterline with great concern as it went down, down, down, finally dwindling to barely a trickle. And still no word from God.

Waiting

Has that ever happened to you? You’ve made a decision. You know God was in it. You felt His guidance and direction. So you move forward, feeling on top of the world.

Then He says, “Wait here” and leads you to a quiet place. You look around. Nothing much is happening. In fact, nothing at all — except that all you hoped and dreamed for appears to be dwindling all around you. Broken dreams. Misplaced hopes. And you have no choice but to wait and hold on a little longer.

Will you worship?

Will you pray?

Will you keep trusting, clinging to the only One who has led you this far?

It is in the waiting that we often find a greater faith than we ever had before, a greater strength than we thought was possible. A deep sense of worship that comes only through times you cannot see beyond the dwindling brook. A faith that comes only through times we have nowhere to look but up, to the place our help comes from.

Elijah went on to perform some amazing feats in his service to a God of wonders and majesty. In the chapters that follow, he called down fire from heaven. He slew hundreds of idol-worshipping false prophets. He brought someone back from the dead. He never tasted death but was instead taken into heaven.

But first, before his big break, Elijah waited. First, his faith grew. First, he was still and learned to recognize God’s voice, not in the thunderous skies and quaking ground, but in the gentlest of whispers.

There, he learned that our God is truly a God of wonders and that He is worthy of worship.

Trust

Maybe you’re not quite sure yet. That’s OK. Your brook might not be dry enough.

Just wait a little longer. And trust. The God who led Elijah to a river in the desert, and then through the wilderness into a period of greater accomplishments and success than he ever thought possible, will do the same for you.

This is the promise of the God who is worthy of worship:

“He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do . . . And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:12-14).

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Bonita Hele is a freelance writer and editor with an MFA in creative writing. She has been published in Seek, Spickety Magazine, Upstreet Magazine and several volumes of Chicken Soup for the Soul. Bonita lives with her husband and three children in Fresno, CA.